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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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First look at £12m Carlisle community hub

This is how part of a £12.3 million school, sports and community hub will transform part of a housing estate.

Harrasby community hub graphic
Artist’s impression of how part of proposed new school and community centre would look

People were today getting a first glimpse at how the showpiece complex in Harraby, Carlisle, will look.

It will be created on the former North Cumbria Technology College site and boast a massive new primary school and community centre, as well as the theatre and sports hall that currently stand there.

Exhibitions are taking place to showcase the development, which supporters hope will be completed by spring 2015.

Cyril Weber, Harraby’s veteran city and county councillor, is also part of community group Harraby Together We Can.

It has been working for more than three years to push for and help shape the scheme, plans for which are due to be submitted in the new year. He is urging people to come forward and have their say on the vision.

“It will be interesting to hear what people have to say,” Mr Weber said. “Personally, I’m quite excited about the design. The architects have done a really good job. It will look fantastic.”

At the centrepiece of the project will be an expanded Pennine Way School, where capacity will be increased from 300 to 630 pupils to help meet growing demands in that part of the city.

Pupils and parents of children there were first to see how the development might take shape when they met developers yesterday.

Among the images they saw was how a tree-lined courtyard to be created as part of their school will look.

People will get their first view during a drop-in session at Harraby Community Centre between 12noon and 5pm today.

Another public exhibition will be held at Creighton Rugby Club from 5pm until 6.30pm on Tuesday.

Mr Weber is sure people will be impressed.

He added: “This isn’t just for Harraby, it’s for the whole of Carlisle. I’m sure people will come from all around to use the 3G pitches and the sports hall. In the current climate there aren’t many of these facilities being built.

“The fact we’re getting a new school being built means the opportunity’s there to create a new community centre and make this a community school, as well as retaining the theatre and sports hall.

“Residents and Harraby Together We Can always wanted to keep the theatre and sports hall. That was something they insisted on.

“They have been involved in this project all the way through.

“It’s community led.”

Money for the project is coming from Cumbria County Council, which is putting in £10.7m, and Carlisle City Council, which is contributing £1.6m.

The community centre will include a cafe, library link, meeting space, soft play, children’s centre resources.

Developers hope work on the transformation of the old secondary school site will start in the summer.

Among those who will be at the exhibitions are representatives of chosen contractors Laing O’Rourke and designers Atkins.

Steven Irvine, operations manager for Laing O’Rourke Construction North said: “We have been working closely with Cumbria County Council, Pennine Way School, Harraby Community Centre and the local community over the last year to develop the proposals for the new Harraby Community Campus.

“The community involvement in the design process has been a rewarding and enlightening experience for our team and we look forward to delivering a first class facility for this community and future generations in Harraby.”

Stan Doyle, director of design and engineering at Atkins, added: “We are looking forward to delivering a sustainable campus which fully reflects the community’s vision and needs.”

County council leader Stewart Young has backed calls for people to look at the proposals.

“The community has already made an important contribution to the scheme with the Harraby Together We Can initiative, the school and community centre all meeting with the project board to contribute their thoughts and ideas,” he said.

Colin Glover, his opposite number on the city council, added: “We know our investment will make a difference to the quality and scale of the new facilities for the community and residents across Carlisle.”

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